Caregivers Corner – An Open Letter to Caregivers

April 18, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

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Dear Caregiver,

Thank you for the sacrifice that you make to care of me.  Thank you for preparing my meals, driving me to doctor’s appointments and keeping me safe.  Thank you for keeping me clean and for handling my financial affairs.  Thank you for trying to make me a part of family activities and thank you for the gifts you give me, even though you are not sure that I know it’s a special day.

This disease has taken much from me.  So, I can’t explain things like I used to. But just because I can’t talk doesn’t mean I am not grateful.  Often when you look at me there is a distant look in my eyes.  It’s those time that I am most afraid.  I fear that caring for me will wear you out.  I fear that I am a burden to  you.  I fear you’ll throw up  your hands and give up.  I fear this prison in which I am trapped.  And yes, I fear death.

No one has talked to me about what is wrong with me, but I see the looks and hear the whispers.  I know it’s the “A” word.  Alzheimer’s.  I don’t know a lot about it, but I’ve never heard about remission or anyone being cured of it.  So, I know that these prison walls will just get more and more confining.  Maybe I’ll get to the point that I dont even recognize that I am in prison, but for now, I know and it’s hard.  It’s really hard.  I used to be the one giving the orders, running things and being in charge.  Now, I am here.  Sitting.  I am here.  Wandering.  I am here.  Wondering.  I am just here.

To you, my special caregiver.  Thanks so much for your care.  I know it’s not easy.  Sometimes I get angry and I lash out at you because you are closest to me.  I want you to make it all better, but I know you can’t.  I don’t mean to hurt you. 

And if it happens like I’ve heard, there may come a day that it I don’t remember you.  I may not know you at a given moment, but I will always love and appreciate you.  Hold on to that.  This disease may take my memory, but it won’t take my heart.

I love you more now than before my illness. 

 You are all I have. 

With Love,  The (grateful) Alzheimer’s patient

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